Sunday, July 17, 2022

What's been on my mind the last couple of days...

Just plain insanity, an astute observation, and in the "About that guy who fucks everything up for all of us" department...

A friend asked me the other day about the idea of "open source" boat plans and it's been on my mind for the last couple of days.

There was an interesting steel boat design, the Yago 31, that was presented as an open source/free plan a while back (Duckworks also has something on the Yago 31). In my mind at least, it was not really an open source design but simply just a free plan which is not quite the same thing.

Sadly, the Yago project appears to have disappeared into that internet void where good things disappear.

Anyway, what would a real open source sailboat design really be?

For me, the most important thing about open source is that to a great extent, it is reliant on user input. The problem with user input is that it can easily morph into the hellish landscape of "design by committee" and that's the kiss of death of good design in most cases, or stasis at best. 

The trick for an open source sailboat design is not to design a boat but to design the parameters of the boat.

For example, an open source Cruiser 30, might be a list of parameters which would include the overall boat dimensions, scantlings, sail area, ballast, and required foils. This would leave the choice of materials, construction, interior, rig, and systems for the users to input their design ideas. Not unlike the Mini 6.5 Transat boats.

Just a table of offsets and required scantlings.

That's a lot of freedom...

The results could be really interesting. You could develop that Cruiser 30 for a progressive version of ferro construction with leeboards, a furling lug rig, and an interior design that is perfect for a couple. While at the same time, someone else is doing a hull based on hemp and bamboo ply panels built using vacuum infusion but constructed as a normal stitch and glue boat. Or, in my current thinking, combining the Cutts and Case double planking method to use home-built lumber using jute...

The possibilities are just about endless.

Certainly worth thinking about.

Listening to Beverly Crusher

So it goes...